Cobble Hill is not what most people think of when they think of a NYC neighborhood. It’s quiet, pleasantly old-fashioned, and free of tourists carrying Century 21 bags. Its cobblestone streets, long standing mom and pop shops, and architectural gems–some dating back to the early 1800s–make it all the more inviting. As with most Brooklyn neighborhoods, Cobble Hill has lived several lives over the years, each one contributing to its diverse identity. Today, it’s a lively mix of young and old, past and present. You’ll see Italian-American grandmothers exiting decades-old bakeries, teens posted up at the corner pizzeria, young mothers carting their newborns out of boutique baby shops, and a hodgepodge of twenty-and thirty-somethings hanging about in the bars and restaurants that dot Court and Smith streets. All in all, if you’re looking for a leisurely afternoon of park sitting, wine drinking, and unhurried shopping, Cobble Hill is the place to go. Here are a few of our favorite spots:
On a tree tree-lined historic block of Cobble Hill, you’ll find Poppy’s, a tiny bakery with an array of delicious cookies, cakes, and savory treats waiting to be eaten up. They also have a grab and go weekend ‘lunchbox’ that’s perfect for a midday picnic in nearby Cobble Hill park. Just make sure you stop by Fri-Sun 9-3 because doors are closed to the public during the weekday.
Cobble Hill Park
If Mary Poppins descended upon NYC, she would probably land in picturesque Cobble Hill Park. She would lean her umbrella against the wrought iron fence, dance around on the winding red brick pathways, snatch up some bright spring flowers for her hat, and make her way over to one of the many quaint three-story brick homes that flank the park. So the next time you are lounging in this neighborhood oasis, make sure to look up from your book or sandwich every once in awhile or you might just miss her.
As soon as you walk through the doors, you’ll notice just how much passion went into to this bar. From the art-deco light fixtures and marble bar to the vaulted wood ceiling and flickering candles, June is a dream atmosphere for the aesthetic eye. There are cozy booths, window stools for people watching, and even a little back patio. The wine list is extensive and full of words you can’t pronounce, but there are options for every budget no matter your level of French. Come for a romantic date night or post up with a few friends and get wine drunk on a sunny Sunday afternoon.
Sahadi’s is a cherished Middle Eastern grocery store that has joined the ranks of some of New York’s most beloved institutions. Established in Manhattan in 1898, its current location on Atlantic Avenue has been welcoming shoppers since 1948. Just walking through the store will get your senses tingling. Upon entering, you’ll come face to face with barrels and jars of spices, nuts, dried fruits, candy, and much more. Customers grab a ticket and wait eagerly for their turn to place their orders. In the back you’ll find a deli serving up spinach pies, stuffed grape leaves, and of course, lots of hummus. You’d be making a mistake if you didn’t pick up a warmed-up zaatar pita for the road.
While technically situated on the border of Cobble Hill and Brooklyn Heights, Elsa is a stylish cocktail bar with tastefully prepared drinks, an excellent happy hour, and a charming patio. It gives off a real Paris-chic vibe and has one of those bathrooms that compels you to take a mirror selfie.
A trip here will certainly give you a better understanding of the area’s rich Italian heritage. Bright pastries fill the display cases, time-weathered family portraits hang on the walls, and the smell of baked goods fills the air. The cannolis and seven-layer cookies are especially delicious and if you swing by in the Summer, you can also enjoy some tasty Italian ice. Watermelon for the win!
This inviting corner bookstore is always buzzing with people in search of the perfect book. The staff gives great recommendations and there is a real sense of community. In addition to offering a wide range of titles, they also regularly have author readings and book club nights. Plus, there’s a very Instagrammable ‘books are magic’ mural painted on the side of the shop.
One of the first tiki bars to pop up in Brooklyn, Zombie Hut stands out for a couple of reasons. First, drinks aren’t $20 and served with an excess of herbs and shrubbery. Second, there’s a spacious backyard that’s perfect for summer chilling. In true tiki spirit, they offer up one of those comically large drinking vessels just in case you want to touch straws and get three sheets with your friends. After a few Scorpion Bowls, you might want to consider picking up some buffalo wings from Wingbar next door. And don’t worry about smuggling them in, the bar encourages patrons to order delivery as they have no kitchen.
Cobble Hill Cinema
Unlike the behemoth multiplex movie theaters of Manhattan, Cobble Hill Cinema is still holding on to the past. Popcorn sizes aren’t alarmingly large, there are five cozy theaters, and the ticket prices leave enough room in your wallet for a post-movie drink. In terms of movies, there’s usually a good selection of independent and blockbuster films on view.
The interior of this vintage-inspired ice cream shop highlights the golden age of ice cream parlors, down to the wood accents and marble countertops. If you’re strolling through Cobble Hill on a sweltering day, make sure to pop in and grab a scoop or two. Sicilian Pistachio, Salted Caramel, and Honeycomb…. yumm!
La Vara serves up Spanish food with a Moorish and Jewish influence. So that alone tells you that they will probably have something on the menu you haven’t tried before, making it as good a place as any to try some creative dishes. Favorites include the Cordero Al Ajo Cabañil, a tasty cumin roasted lamb breast, and the Cochinillo, a slow-cooked crispy suckling pig served with a green chimichurri sauce.
This is always a good choice. It’s cozy, casualish, and just dark enough. There’s a tiny fireplace in the back that’s perfect for when you want to pretend you live in an old-timey saloon. They also serve a hearty brunch on the weekends and sandwiches, burgers and bites Mon-Fri.